While we’re on the NFL tip, a nice look back at the making of the Madden juggernaut:

Hawkins listened. Ybarra took notes. The duo promised they would create as sophisticated a simulation as home computers would allow. Real football, with seven players to a side …

Right there, Madden balked — even though he was technically under contract with EA to endorse a football game. “If it’s not 11-on-11,” he said, “it’s not real football.”

“That was a deal breaker,” Madden recalled. “If it was going to be me and going to be pro football, it had to have 22 guys on the screen. If we couldn’t have that, we couldn’t have a game.”